Dentist fractures jaw bone during wisdom tooth surgery, slapped Rs 40,000 for medical negligence
Jalandhar: Holding him guilty of gross medical negligence, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed a local dental clinic and a dentist to pay an amount of Rs 40,000 as compensation to a patient, whose jaw bone reportedly got fractured during surgery for treatment of wisdom tooth pain.
The case relates to patient who lodged a complaint against Clove Dental Clinic in Jalandhar and its a maxillofacial surgeon.
In her complaint, she alleged that she developed severe pain in her wisdom tooth and hence took medical advice from the doctor, who asked her to get an X-ray from the hospital on August 30, 2018. The doctor suggested surgery for which she deposited Rs 3,000 in the hospital.
On August 31, 2018, the surgeon conducted surgery extracting the wisdom tooth of the complainant. She was told that swelling and healing will take 72 hours and the stitches of the wound would be removed after 15 days and the same was accordingly done from the hospital.
However, the patient's pain did not subside; instead swelling increased and the mouth of the complainant became stiff. She alleged that it was hard to open and chewing became painful for her. In addition, the lower left side of the face particularly the chin, lips, tongue became very painful and numb and the life of the complainant became tough due to the surgery.
The patient said the doctor told him that since all organs were re-modeling, these will automatically get healed after approximately 15 days. The patient said when the pain became unbearable for her, she took opinions from other medical experts and surgeons of repute. She even got her scans done which showed that the lower bone of the jaw on the left side was broken while doing the surgery by the doctor. She took opinion of more doctors, who told her that not only did the bone get fractured, but the nerve of the jaw also got damaged and injured and the entire skull had developed severe pain. A scan was done again, which confirmed the nerve injury which further developed pain in the left ear. After that, she consulted an ENT specialist who opined that there was no problem in the left ear but due to injury to the nerve, the complainant had got severe pain.
She added that in all she has spent about Rs 1,00,000 in multiple medical opinions and scanning.
As her problem worsened, the patient took the opinion of multiple doctors. A doctor in Chandigarh diagnosed her with paraesthesia due to inury to inferior alveolar nerve and multiple non-vital teeth causing her unbearable pain. She was also advised psychological treatment. specialists also opined that there is a good chance that the injury and hence the agony may never heal.
to establish her case against the dentist, she also attached the report from an oral radiologist which stated
" tooth missing 38, oblique osteolytic area is seen with ill-defined borders w.r.t 38 region, osteolytic area is seen extending till the angle of mandible with break in continuity of both lingual and buccal cortical plates. Bony segment appears to be displaced medially and superiorly.
Impression:- Findings are suggestive of fracture involving the left angle of mandible with displaced segments."
Referring to her ordeal after the botched up surgery, she said that her life suffered as she lost her job because of her inability to go to office. She also blamed that her family which included her two minor children aged about 14 years and 8 years, also suffered because of her condition after the surgery. She sought compensation of Rs18 lakh on account of future loss of amenities of life, loss of happiness, pain, agony, suffering and the expenses which she has to bear throughout life.
The court noted that the clinic and the hospitals did not produce any evidence in support of their case and they were proceeded exparte by this Commission as they did not appear before this Commission despite service.
The commission noted the opinion given by various doctors in the case and noted that All the said doctors had given opinion in favour of the complainant that OPs are negligent and deficient in providing services to her.
Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, The commission held the doctor negligent and deficient in providing services to her. The commission presided by Kuljit Singh and member Jyotsna observed: "When reasonable care, expected of the medical profession is not rendered, the same amounts to negligence. If the doctor fails to perform his duty during treatment, then he is liable for medical negligence."
the commission referred to the judgment of Apex Court in V. Krishnakumar versus State of T.N reported in 2015(2) Apex Court Judgments 762 (S.C) wherein it has been held that "Hospital is vicariously liable for the acts of its doctors".
The hospital and the dentist were then directed to pay Rs 40,000 as compensation for mental harassment and physical harassment faced by the complainant. The complainant is also entitled to Rs5,000 as the cost of litigation. The commission also ordered that Rs5,000 be deposited in the Legal Aid Fund of the office.